Our Savage Neighbours
According to Dr. Silver, his book characteristically explains that formation of political and social landscapes can be forged through horror and fear. Nativist revivals were groups of American citizens and soldiers who grouped together in order to form a defense against Indian attacks. Indians frighten Americans by their random terrorist attacks that propagated fear. The Native Americans, the European and the revivals had suffered at the hands of the Indians. They all wished to destroy them.
Indians were considered new comers and outcasts. Their continued attacks on Americans resulted to hatred in Americans for a long period of time. This is because the Indians were very ruthless in the attacks. As a result of this, a deep rooted desire to end the lives of the attackers developed. Nativism is the natives desire to preserve their territory. The Native Americans came together and fought back in retaliation.
Terroristic acts are acts are brutal acts carried out to innocent people. The Indians political strategy was to scare America into submission. Although they believed they were capable of defeating America, they doubted the method of direct attack. Indians decided to randomly attack the villages at random. They would select isolated villages, farms and any where they would find innocent and defenseless Americans.
The Indians were afraid of directly raiding the American soil. Instead, they developed another tactic of instilling fear and horror to their enemies and forcing them to surrender. The Indians would attack defenseless farmers in their fields, unprotected villages at the unprecedented time. Afterwards, they brutally mutilated their bodies and left them to be discovered later. These actions are described by Silver as being terroristic in nature.
Rhetorics of suffering and the anti-Indian sublime are descriptions Silver utilized to explain the feelings of the Americans. The attacks by Indians instilled fear in Americans that they developed hate towards the Indians. Eventually, this feeling triggered their desire to retaliate the attacks. Americans Hated Indians for a long period of time. This is because the Indians were very ruthless in the attacks. As a result of this, a deep rooted desire to end the lives of the attackers developed. The Native Americans came together and fought back in retaliation. The Indians would attack defenseless farmers in their fields, unprotected villages at the unprecedented time in order to instill fear and horror to their enemies and force them to submit. The brutally of mutilated bodies left to be discovered by Indians caused Americans a lot of suffering.
Silver is keen to note the origin of racism in American history. This concept did not exist until the Indians segregated themselves as red skinned communities. They did so to strengthen themselves and to unite their communities. Because of this, the white discovered that they shared more similarities in terms of skin color with the Europeans apart from their hatred for Indians.
The Indians thought that use of color was another strategy to develop unity. They aimed at utilizing the power of numbers and unity among their red colored skinned communities to achieve victory in their battles. On the other hand, the Americans hated the red skinned Indians. Some even thought that they were colored because they had been caused by the gods. Others observed that the red skin was as a result of deep rooted poverty and hopelessness in life. The whites believed that their skin was the ideal skin color. In this way, the Indians triggered racism.
Silver utilizes the story of Thomas to describe the origins of the Indian settlers. This also marked the beginning of racial isolation. The white people were in supremacy wars even before the Indian war. They utilized the distraction to attack each other. Since the Pennsylvania’s governor had offered rewards for killing Indians, the whites murdered each other in pretense and scalped their faces. The country people accused each other of siding with the enemy, further escalating ethnic conflicts.
Before the Indian war begun, the white communities were entangled in a conflicting situation. Everyone wanted to prove their political dominance. Because of this, a division of political ideologies developed which resulted to inter-ethnic clashes. Some ethnic groups utilized the ongoing Indian invasion as a tool of distraction to claim political supremacy.
The Indian war soon became a political tool in American civilization. The Quakers shared a close relationship with the Indians, who were against the other ethnic groups, as well as the Europeans. Silver explains in chapter seven that the Indian war also resulted to inter-white conflicts. The white communities were entangled in a conflicting situation because everyone wanted to prove their political authority. Because of this, a division of political ideologies developed which resulted to inter-ethnic clashes. Silver observes that ethnic groups utilized the ongoing Indian incursion as a tool of distraction to claim political supremacy. Quakers supported the Indian invasion in an effort to develop a political supremacy against other American ethnic groups and the Europeans.
The Indian war may have separated and caused inter-white conflicts, but a union of Indians and Britons against Americans brought them to their senses. Ethnic groups set aside their internal conflicts and joined together to from the American Revolution. They knew that unity was mandatory and that it would provide them victory.
The introduction of another key player changed the game. The British, who had previously colonized America, saw an opportunity during the Indian war. They formed an alliance with Indians in an effort to conquer America once again. However, Americans put aside their differences and came together to defend their land.
Chapter nine of the book describes the preparation of the imminent post war that was anticipated after the Indian war. All the ethnic groups prepared for war only that the political revolution enhanced political mind games and the creation of alliances. Victory became uncertain for any political player.
As observed earlier, the white communities were entangled in a conflicting situation because everyone wanted to prove their political authority. Because of this, a division of political ideologies developed which resulted to inter-ethnic clashes. Unlikely alliances were formed as they prepared for the possibility of war.
In conclusion, Silver demonstrated how Indians instilled fear in Americans that later developed into hatred. He describes Indians as brutal and inhuman characters who would attack defenseless farmers in their fields, unprotected villages at the unprecedented time. Afterwards, they brutally mutilated their bodies and left them to be discovered later. According to Silver, Indians started the practice of terrorism. In addition, racism was born as a result of the Indian war that caused division between white communities. The book is very coherent and resourceful, although Silver does not highlight the Indian side of the story.
Silver, P. R. (2008). Our savage neighbors: how Indian war transformed early America. New York: W.W. Norton.
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